Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Finding Silver Linings In The 2016 Chargers Season

San Diego Chargers WR Tyrell Williams (#16)

Written By Kevin Kennedy

The 2016 season was another disappointing campaign for the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers went 4-12 in 2015, their worst record since 2003, in which they took Philip Rivers with the fourth pick in the following draft. Many felt like the 2015 season was a fluke, and that the Chargers would revamp and come back as a sneaky playoff contender in 2016. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

The Chargers started the season with a rough stretch of losing four of their first five games all by a touchdown or less. The Chargers 1-4 record was deceiving, as they clearly had enough talent to compete in games but simply could not find ways to win. The team would bounce back slightly, going 4-2 in their next six games, but then lose their next four. The Chargers are now destined to pick in the top 10 in the 2017 draft, where they could target a defensive lineman. Despite their disappointing season, there were silver linings for the Bolts.

Tyrell Williams

The play of wide receiver Tyrell Williams has been one of the more surprising and uplifting stories of the 2016 NFL season. Williams spent four years at Division II Western Oregon and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chargers in 2015. Williams only real playing time came in week 17 of last season, where he showed his playmaking ability, as he caught two balls for 90 yards for a touchdown. One year later, Williams has become Rivers’ number one target, leading the team with 113 targets, 63 receptions, 989 yards, and seven touchdowns. Williams went from an undrafted Division II player to a 1,000 yard player in two seasons with San Diego.

Melvin Gordon

Gordon was a star at Wisconsin, as he rushed for 2,587 yards in his senior season and finished his college career with  7.8 yards per carry. This production prompted the Chargers to select Gordon with the 15th pick in the 2015 draft. Gordon was quickly labeled as bust, as failed to score a touchdown, rush for over 100 yards in a game, and only recorded 641 yards in his rookie season. Gordon quickly dismissed that bust label this season, as he has rushed for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns. Gordon is going to finish the 2016 season with 1,000 yards, top 10 in rushing, and top 6 in touchdowns.

Joey Bosa

Bosa’s Chargers career could not have gotten off to a worse start, as an ugly contract dispute was dragged through the media. San Diego drafted Bosa with the third pick in the 2016 draft as the first non quarterback off the board, so the talent was obviously there. Bosa has quickly made fans forget about what happened in August and September, as he has recorded 9.5 sacks in only 11 games to lead all rookies. Despite missing the first four games, Bosa is still a leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Other Notables

Tight End Hunter Henry: 435 yards and seven touchdowns in his rookie season.
Cornerback Casey Hayward: Leads the NFL with seven interceptions, only Charger named to Pro Bowl.

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